Ohio volleyball, who, just a week ago was alone on top of the Mid-American Conference standings, was swept Friday night by arch rival Miami. The Bobcats have now lost consecutive games, both on the road, for the first time since the 2011-12 season. Ohio now finds itself being threatened by Northern Illinois, Miami, and Kent State for the MAC title.
Although Ohio fell behind 8-3 to start the first set, the Bobcats played well on offense. In those first points, Shelby Walker was Ohio’s primary source of offensive success, the other Bobcat attackers having struggled with Miami’s block.
After the Redhawks’ initial burst, the teams fought evenly for the remainder of the set. The Bobcats, however, could not overcome the buffer that Miami had created. Ohio fell 25-18.
The second set was much of the same story; Miami was too quick and too aggressive. Ohio earned the first point of the set off of a double contact by the Redhawks’ Maeve Mcdonald. Miami then exploded for a 7-1 run, and the home team never looked back. Ohio’s rival took the second set by a commanding score of 25-16.
To start the third set, Ohio again fell behind, this time by a score of 4-2. The Bobcats, however, then reeled off a 4-1 run before Miami was forced to call a timeout. After the timeout, both teams looked as sharp as they had all match. Ohio’s attack was back on par, and Miami was continuing its precise and relentless attack.
Following a back-and-forth battle, Miami eventually took a 16-14 lead. Ohio’s Jaime Kosiorek tied the game at 17-all with a service ace.
The two teams then fiercely competed until the Redhawks took a 24-22 lead. Ohio received a serve, and Kosiorek took a swing. The Miami block prevailed again, though, and Ohio found itself swept for the second consecutive game.
Ohio, who had started this conference season with nine straight wins, lost to its arch-rival Miami for the first time in 12 meetings. After looking dominant and practically unbeatable for the first half of conference play, Ohio is now on its heels, its weaknesses being exploited by its most worthy conference foes.
Senior Karen Bull was Ohio’s best performer: tallying eight kills. Abby Gilleland had 25 assists for the Bobcats. Three players for Ohio registered negative hitting percentages, Kosiorek having a negative percentage for the second consecutive match.
McDonald led the Redhawks with 24 digs.
Ohio looks to halt its losing skid tomorrow, October 31st, when it travels to Bowling Green. The Bobcats swept the Falcons in their meeting in Athens earlier this season.